Q&A about Chess Marketing, Promotion and PR with Paul Truong

How do you get colleges or universities to award scholarships?

Every college or university wants good students. They also want good publicity for their schools. The best way to convince colleges and universities to award scholarships is to show them what they can get in return such as:

– Excellent publicity which could help improve their enrollment
– Enhancing their ability to recruit excellent students

The key is after they agree to award scholarships, make sure that they get as much positive publicity as possible. This will help you get them to award scholarships again. In many events that are sponsored by the Susan Polgar Foundation, we often award multiple scholarships and many universities are eager to work with us because they know that they will get plenty of benefits in return.

Which type of camera do you recommend? Digital or the old fashion SLR?

I have used both. But I use only digital SLR today. It is a lot more economical and the difference between a top of the line old fashion SLR versus a good digital SLR is minimal. 99% of the people cannot tell the difference.

If you take a lot of fast action pictures, I recommend a digital SLR. An entry level model like the Nikon D40X is good for everyday use. This would set you back around $900 but it comes with 2 standard lenses. Something higher up would be the Canon EOS 30D for about $1,100 – $1,200. If you want to go for the best, I would go for Canon EOD 1D Mark III. That would run you for around $5,200 plus lens.

However, if you use your camera just for general pictures, any pocket digital camera with 7 mega pixels or higher would do the trick. Memory cards are cheap so don’t be stingy with your pictures. The more pictures you take, the more you will get used to your camera. I always recommend to have an extra battery and an extra memory card.

How do you get sponsors to be interested in chess?

There are two ways to look at this. We can try to convince companies to sponsor chess or we can propose win win situations to these companies. I actually seldom approach companies to just sponsor chess.

I usually do researches and statistics in advance. Then I give them relative examples that make financial and logical sense. I compare what their companies get from sponsoring something else for X amount of dollars versus what they can get for sponsoring chess with much less money.

What I suggest is you approach these companies from the position of strength and not weakness. We have a very good product in chess. We can go a long way if we present it the right way.

Given a child that shows some talent and desire to follow a sport to higher levels, how do you go about fund raising to allow him/her to reach their potential? I guess my question is, are there any tips or ideas or pointers to individual sports sponsorship or fundraising.

This is a little more complicated that general chess sponsorship. This actually involved several factors, regardless of age.

– How talented is the individual?
– Is the individual marketable?

If you have someone with the talent and success of Bobby Fischer or John McEnroe (even at an earlier age without the full success yet, a strong and positive personality does not matter as much. You can get by without it). However, for others, marketability is crucial. Appearance, communication skills and sparkling personalities, etc., all play major roles in finding sponsorships.

Work with the individual to improve on communication and interaction skills. Dress properly. If a company sponsors a player, that company wants the player to positively reflect its image.

This is just the general tip because obviously it is different with every company and player. Just analyze the situation like you do in chess. Think from the angle of the potential sponsor. If you are the sponsor, what would you look for? This is always the key rule of thumb for me and it works!

Anyone with questions in these areas can send them to ChessMarketing@aol.com or you can post your questions right on this blog. Paul will pick some of the most popular questions and answer them on Mondays. He is by far one of the most successful persons in Chess Marketing, Promotion and PR persons in the United States and his goal is to raise the popularity of chess in this country by many levels. He is now the Director of Marketing and PR for SPICE at Texas Tech University. You may want to throw in occasional questions here and there about Chess Photography since he is also a premier photographer 🙂

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